Blueprint hails True Gum GTR growth as brand gains B-Corporation status

By Kristiane Sherry |

True Gum gains B-Corporation status

Copenhagen-based brand True Gum has gain B-Corporation status for its plant-based, vegan products.

Travel retail business development agency Blueprint is celebrating growing momentum for sustainable chewing gum brand True Gum, which recently achieved B-Corporation accreditation.

True Gum was launched in Copenhagen in May 2018 as a plastic-free, 100% biodegradable vegan product. It is now present in more than 20,000 stores globally across 30 major retailers. 

Speaking to TRBusiness during TR Sustainability Week, True Gum co-founder Morten Paulin Ebdrup described winning B-Corp status as a “big milestone” that he was “extremely proud of”. 

“I am thrilled to announce that True Gum has officially achieved B Corp certification, a testament to our unwavering commitment to environmental and social responsibility,” he detailed.

“We are once again pioneering sustainability in the mouth refreshment industry and this milestone reaffirms our dedication to creating a positive impact on both people and the planet.” 

Instead of using plastic in its formation, its gums are based around a tree sap recipe. It is presented in fully recyclable cardboard packaging.

Its travel retail product offering spans multi- and single packs in gum, mint and drops lines.

The gum has already secured listings in the channel with Gebr. Heinemann, Dufry Group, AER, Viking Line, WHSmith, and 7-eleven.

‘Initial shock’ at plastic prevalence 

Ebdrup described how he was inspired to start the brand after discovering how prevalent plastic is in conventional chewing gum. 

“We found out in 2016 that the majority of chewing gums are made with a plastic-based base,” he explained. 

“Plastic was a relatively new invention. And chewing gum was a relatively old invention. So what people did before plastic sparked the whole idea for True Gum.”

He continued: “It was honestly the initial shock. We started discussing ‘how come if I throw this chewing gum out in my garden, I can go and I can pick that same piece of chewing gum up in 10 years?’”

One motivation to start the brand was the worry about what conventional gum could do to the human body. “The other part was that chewing gum is the second most littered item in the world. It’s basically consumed in tonnes and tonnes and tonnes every year. So what is the environmental impact of this?”

True Gum founders

True Gum founders (L-R): Jacob Jonasen Motzfeldt, Peter Juul Regnersgaard, Zabrina Ziegler and Morten Paulin Ebdrup

While the brand started in his kitchen with a number of prototype recipes, today the full manufacturing process takes place in a Copenhagen-based factory setting.

Due to the gum’s plant-based formulation, equipment had to be specially adapted in order to handle the recipe. 

“It was extremely difficult,” Ebdrup continued. “Not only did we need to find someone who could help us produce, we also needed someone who could do it in, let’s say, within a start-up budget.” Used equipment was adapted and modified to meet the needs of the business. 

“We set up our own factory step by step. In the beginning, it was all manual labour. We were rolling the gum, we were cutting it by hand, and we were filling the packs by hand. Today we have an automated production setup. So that has been a tough nut to crack to figure out.”

True Gum B-Corporation win

B-Corp status is notoriously difficult to achieve, but Ebdrup believes the path was inherently smoother for True Gum.

“For sure it’s a difficult and rigorous private process,” he said. “[But] I think what really sets us apart as opposed to a big company is that we were founded around a sustainable cause. We were not a business going sustainable. We were sustainable from the beginning.”

It took the team around 18 months to secure certification. “There were a lot of things where we scored points simply because of what we set out to do,” he continued. 

According to m1nd-set data quoted by Blueprint, 58% of travellers believe eco-friendly ingredients and production processes are important. In addition, 80% of millennials are loyal to socially responsible companies. 

Meanwhile the World Economic Forum recently found that 77% of employees and 76% of consumers say it’s important that the organisations they work for or buy from have a clear social purpose.

Inside the B-Corp-certified True Gum factory

Inside the B-Corp-certified True Gum factory.

Ebdrup confirmed that GTR buyers are becoming “inclined” to make more sustainable decisions when listing products. 

Blueprint’s Karl Walter agreed: “Every retailer wants to give the choice to the to the consumer to buy sustainable or different alternatives,” he added. 

“[True Gum] has been very well received in travel retail, also because of the great design, the great packaging, the need to have different different offers in the store.”

Earlier this year, Blueprint Partner Thomas Kaneko Henningsen shared the company’s strategy for building growth in the channel, encouraging brands to “commit 100%” to travel retail.

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